Are you tired of coats and backpacks strewn all over your house's entryway or mudroom? Tame that mess with this beautiful walnut DIY coat hook. Sized to attach to wall studs, this 20-inch-wide coat hook is strong enough to hold three heavy winter coats or even a couple of lightweight jackets plus a school backpack, while remaining securely attached to the wall.
Inspired by a significant 1957 Frank Lloyd Wright home in California, this lean design is an elegant rhythm of squares and trapezoids. Set against a horizontal beam, its basic shapes are the perfect complement to other Arts and Crafts or traditional home elements.
You will be able to finish this coat rack in about half a day, using basic tools that you may already own. Walnut or other hardwood options are preferable, both for stability and for appearance. Since the quantity of wood required is so small, using a fine hardwood won't be terribly expensive. However, you can use a softer, less expensive wood, such as Douglas fir or hemlock.
Because this coat hook is designed to span two wall studs, it is best to maintain the 20-inch width recommended, which assures you can secure it to two wall studs. Do not try to attach the coat rack to the wall with ordinary drywall wall anchors mounted between wall studs, as it could gradually pull free from the wall if too many heavy coats are hung from it.
Sawing hardwood can be difficult since the wood is so hard and dense. Always be certain to wear eye and hearing protection with working with hardwood.
Equipment / Tools
- Tape measure
- Speed square or framing square
- Power miter saw
- Eye protection
- Hearing protection
- 3 Clamps
- Power pad sander
- Cordless drill
- Stud finder
- 3/4-inch hardwood board (3 1/2 x 30 inches)
- 10 1 1/2-inch brass wood screws
- 2 2 1/2-inch brass wood screws
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Tack cloth
- Wood glue
- Danish oil finish
- Latex gloves
- Clean rags
- Polyurethane varnish (optional)
Measure and Mark the Cross Beam
Using a tape measure and speed square, measure and mark a 20-inch length of board to serve as the coat rack's crossbeam. Make a very light pencil mark, to minimize the amount of sanding needed.
Cut the Cross Beam
With the power miter saw, cut the cross beam to 20 inches long. For the smoothest cuts, use a new fine-tooth blade in your miter saw.
If you don't own a power miter saw, the pieces can also be cut with a hand-held jigsaw or circular saw, but take care to make the cuts straight and square. Other stationary saws, such as a table saw or radial arm saw, can also be used.
Measure, Mark, and Cut the Hooks
From the remaining piece of board, measure and mark three 1 1/2 x 3 1/3-inch hooks. Cut these to size, using a power miter saw.
Notch the Hooks
The wooden hooks will have 45-degree wedges cut off one corner, creating an authentic Frank Lloyd Wright eave design. To cut off these wedges, stack the three hooks on the miter saw, set the saw blade to a 45-degree angle, and cut them all at once.
Small workpieces can have a tendency to kick back; you can prevent this by blocking the material in place with pieces of scrap 2x4 clamped to your saw fence. (The size of the wedges can be varied if you want a different look.)
Cut Ornamental Blocks
From the remaining piece of board, cut two 2 x 2-inch blocks. These will be used for purely decorative purposes to enhance the Arts and Crafts style of the project.
Cutting very small pieces on a power miter saw can be tricky business, as your hands may be very close to the blade and the pieces have a tendency to kick backward. If such work makes you nervous (as it perhaps should), you can use a hand miter saw to cut these small blocks. Or, you can make use of scrap wood to block the pieces tightly in place as you cut.
Sand the Pieces
With the electric sander and fine-grit sandpaper (or by hand), lightly sand all of the wood pieces. Lightly round off the edges and corners, but don't round off too much wood, as Frank Lloyd Wright designs are dependent on precise edges and corners.
To sand the small pieces, position the sandpaper flat on the workbench with the grit side facing upward. Keep the sandpaper in place and rub the workpiece against the sandpaper. One way to help keep the sandpaper in place on the table is to secure it in place with painter's tape.
Clean the Pieces
It is important to clean the wood before applying the wood finish. Wood dust and other debris embedded in the wood finish can ruin the texture. Sawdust embedded in polyurethane is especially damaging; re-sanding is the only way to fix this problem.
Wiping down the wood with tack cloth is the preferred method. Beeswax impregnated in the cloth grabs the dust and removes it. Keep the pressure very gentle—if you press too hard, you risk forcing the wax into the wood. Be sure to frequently refold the cloth so that you are using a clean section.
Position the Hooks
The three hooks will be attached to the crossbeam with the beveled corners facing up and toward the wall. Each hook will rise about 1/2 inch above the crossbeam, creating a protrusion on which coats and scarves can be hung.
The outside hooks should be positioned inward 1/2 inch from the ends of the crossbeam, with the third hook positioned precisely in the center of the crossbeam.
Use a speed square to position the hooks perpendicular to the edge of the crossbeam, then use C-clamps to hold them in position while attaching them.
Attach the Hooks
Turn the rack over, so that the back is facing you. Drill countersunk pilot holes, then attach the hooks to the cross beam, using two 1 1/2-inch brass screws per hook. Pilot holes are essential to prevent the wood from splitting, but make sure not to drill all the way through the hooks.
Drill Holes for Mounting Screws
For ultimate stability, the coat rack needs to be screwed directly into wall studs. Because walls studs are typically spaced 16 inches (on-center) from each other, drill two pilot holes in the coat rack 16 inches apart.
For a more finished look, some woodworkers choose to counterbore the holes for the mounting screws, then cover them with wood plugs or buttons after the coat rack is hung.
Position the Ornamental Blocks
Spread a small amount of glue to the backs of the decorative blocks, then glue them in place, centering them between the middle hook and the outside hooks. The top edges of the blocks should be flush with the top edge of the cross beam. Since they will not be carrying any weight, no nails or screws are needed.
Clamp the Ornamental Blocks
Clamp the squares in place. Leave the coat rack for at least two hours until the glue fully dries.
Danish oil gives hardwood a lustrous, rich, natural look. Wearing latex gloves, apply the oil to the coat hook with rags, thoroughly rubbing it into the wood. Leave the coat hook in a dry, well-ventilated place for at least two hours for the oil to fully sink in.
If desired, apply a coat of water- or oil-based polyurethane varnish which will seal the wood and eliminate the need for reapplication of Danish oil. (Left unvarnished, the coat hook will need a fresh coating of oil once or twice a year.) Allow the polyurethane to dry and cure for one to two days.
Hang the Coat Hook
Use a stud finder to locate wall studs and mark points at roughly eye level or slightly higher on the wall. Screw the coat rack into the wall studs, using two 2 1/2-inch brass screws through into the pilot holes and into the wall. Use a level to make sure the coat hook is level.